Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Coastal Walking trails in the Comox Valley: Royston Seaside Trail


by Keith and Heather Nicol

The Royston wrecks are easily seen from this trail
      Coastal walking trails that have been sign posted and maintained are rare in the Comox Valley so the Royston Seaside Trail is worth knowing about. It is well marked and compacted and so is suited to walking or cycling.  To find the start we recommend going to Hilton Road in Royston (49 39.143 N , 124 57.180 W) where there is a large parking area and even a picnic table. This location also has a side trail where you can view the “Royston wrecks”. For more on the history of the Royston wrecks see a previous blog: http://keithnicol.blogspot.ca/2014/11/exploring-royston-wrecks-by-sea-kayak.html.  The trail winds past houses on the left and the Comox Estuary on the right. The trail is just 1 km long and is suited to a wide range of people since it is wide and well surfaced with pea size gravels.  It ends at Chinook Road (49 39.464 N, 124 57.798 W) and you could start the trail at this point but the parking area is very small there so the Hilton Road location is preferred.  The trail also has numerous interpretative signs which add to the enjoyment of the walk.  It is too bad this trail doesn’t connect to the Courtenay trailway since it would make a fine longer cycling or walking route. 
There are several interpretative signs along the trail


Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Coastal Walking trails in the Comox Valley- Pt Holmes to Kye Bay



by Keith and Heather Nicol
Heather walking along the beach at Pt Holmes
       There are a number of walking trails which hug the shoreline in the Comox Valley and one that we have seen many people on but never walked ourselves until today is the route between Pt Holmes and Kye Bay. For those that read this blog regularly you will know that this is our “go to” place to sea kayak since there is a boat launch and some paddling options depending on the weather and your interest. We often paddle along the Lazo Cliffs to Kye Bay so have seen many people walking the coastline as we paddle. The walk is generally do able by a wide range of people since the walking surface is generally quite good—from sandy beach to smallish cobbles. Also the distance is just 2 km (one way) so that makes it appealing for a variety of walkers as well. We parked just past the boat launch at Pt Holmes and found a short trail to the beach near our car (coordinates 49 41.576 N , 124 52.014 W). After about 600 meters we came to a nice sandy beach and you could make this your destination if that is what you are after (coordinates 49 41.762 N , 124 51.796 W). On this day we were the only people on this stretch of beach so if you want a beach that is way from the crowds check this out. 
The backshore is composed of steep sliffs
 We carried on walking on the nice firm sand and after 1.3 km the shoreline becomes abit rougher and changes direction along the steep cliffs. This change of direction was welcome since we were hiking this route on a warm afternoon and  so this portion was now in the shade which made for cooler walking conditions. If you want to walk the whole route in the sun, aim to do this trail in the morning. After about 2 km the trail arrives at a yellow house and you can walk around the tangle of logs and rip rap to Longview Road. From here you can either reverse your route and return to your car. If you have 2 cars you can park one here at a small parking lot at the end of Longview Road ( 49 42.441 N, 124 51.790 W).  This route has fine views of Denman and Hornby Island as well as toward Powell River across Georgia Strait with the mountains of the coast range beyond.  The back shore is mostly steep cliffs. Allow about 40-50 minutes to make this walk ( 1 way).  The tide was about 2.4 meters at the time we did this walk but only on very high tides with strong SE winds would tides likely become an issue. 
The views of ocean and mountains are impressive


Sunday, 20 August 2017

Testing the Aqua Quest Aquaroo Money Belt



By Keith and Heather Nicol
Daughter Kristie testing the Aquaroo money belt while tubing the Puntledge
     Most of our blog posts deal with places to visit and things to do in the Comox Valley and Vancouver Island.  But we came recently came across some wet weather gear that we have been testing and we want readers to know what we think of it. We have been getting alot of use this summer from the Aqua Quest Aquaroo money belt since we have been doing alot of tubing down the Puntledge River. This presents a potential problem since how do you get your car keys , driver’s licence and perhaps some cash etc down the river in some sort of dry bag. Since you want something that is light and easy to carry the Aqua Quest waist belt fits the bill perfectly as far as we are concerned. It is not bulky and since you wear it around your waist this keeps your hands free. It has a multi layer bagging system and we have used 8 times this summer and everything has  been bone dry when we finished despite getting soaked by waves several times on each trip down the river.  Note that you have to seal each successive layer to get the waterproof result you are looking for. 

Heather on a sea kayak trip to Tree Island taking a phone call
Hiking Mt Washington
    We have also used it on many sea kayak trips this summer and we find it a great spot to hold a cell phone, car keys etc. Although you can stow phone, car keys and driver’s license in a dry bag and put it in a hatch the fact that this is around your waist means it is ready at all times should you need to make an emergency phone call.  
      Obviously you can use this waist belt for lots of other uses even when you don’t plan on getting wet. I now use it cycling to house keys, my phone and some cash and it makes an easy to carry way to carry some same things when hiking. If you get caught in a downpour then it doesn’t matter since your phone and keys will stay dry. This is a great little item and is worth checking out for these types of applications. We are testing some other Aqua Quest products and will report back on those in future blogs. Another great thing is that Aqua Quest is headquartered in the Comox  Valley. For more information see: https://www.aquaquest.ca/

       
The Aquaroo Money Belt can be used biking as well.




   

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

Mulligan’s Golf Course still the best golfing deal around



by Keith and Heather Nicol
Keith on the practice green with outdoor patio behind
   Mulligan’s Golf Course in Courtenay, B.C. is still an amazing deal when it comes to golf. When we first moved here 2.5 years ago we couldn’t believe that you could play a round of golf for under $10. Mind you it is an executive par 3 with a total distance of around 1750 yards for nine holes.  Two years later it is still just $8 if you play before 8:00 am or after 4:00 pm and they charge a very reasonable $11 for nine holes between  those times. Mulligan’s also has a driving range where you can pick up a bucket of balls for $2.00 and they have a clubhouse, outdoor patio and putting green.  The short distance for the course makes it an ideal course for walking .And although it is relatively flat there are plenty of sand traps and water hazards to challenge even the experienced golfer. 


Heather tees off on the first hole with the scenic Beaufort Mountains behind
   We were interested in seeing the condition of the course given the dry warm summer and the fairways indeed , are showing the lack of rain. We were told that Mulligan’s is on a well and only have enough water to cover the greens and the tee boxes. But since 6 of the 9 holes are par 3’s and if you expect to be on or near the green with your tee shot the brown fairways really don’t come into play that much. We found the greens to be in surprisingly good shape and look forward to trying the course again in the fall after the fairways green up a bit with the autumn rains and cooler temperatures. Still we had perfect weather conditions for our round with temperatures a pleasant 22 C with a light NE wind. The course is having a good season and you need to book ahead especially if you want a specific morning tee time.  For more information see: http://www.mulligansgolfcourse.com/   or phone 250-338-2440. 
The greens are in very good shape


Saturday, 12 August 2017

Courtenay's Puntledge River has been ideal for tubing this summer



By Keith and Heather Nicol
Daughter Kristie floating down the river
    With good consistent water levels and some warm temperatures from mid July to mid August, the Puntledge River in Courtenay, B.C. has been very active with tubers this summer. It is very convenient since the river flows through Courtenay and the put in is just on the outskirts of town. There are several places to pull out and previous blogs describe these (http://keithnicol.blogspot.ca/2017/07/the-puntledge-river-is-ideal-for-tubing.html).  It works best if you can go with another couple or group since then you can leave a car at either end but you can also leave a bike at the take out and cycle back to your car if you have one car. Tubing is alot of fun and a great way to spend time with friends or family. Here are several pictures from the river this summer.  

Dan (right) , Heather and Juliana on a warm summer day

Steve (left) snd Christy tried tubing for the first time this year

Heather finishing a set of rapids